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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 26/04/2006
Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive - 7th March 2006

Executive 99


(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
*Miss G B W Ferguson (Chairman)*Mr C H Mansell
*Mrs C E Savage (Vice-Chairman)*Mr K T Reed
*Mr S D Edge*Mr J E Robini
*Mr B Grainger-Jones*Mr V K Scrivens
*Mr P Haveron
* Present
Mrs C Cockburn, Mrs P Ellis and Mr R J Gates were also present
Mr Gates spoke on Appendices A and G (Minute Nos. 248 and 246 refer)
Mrs Ellis spoke on Appendix L (Minute No. 256) and Dr M-G Lane attended to speak on Appendix O (Minute No. 259 refers)

242. MINUTES (Agenda Item 1)


Mr C H Mansell and Mr V K Scrivens declared personal interests with regard to Agenda Item 9 (Community Partnership Funding for Chantrys Youth Facility) as members of Farnham Town Council. Mr J E Robini declared a personal interest in the same item as an employee of a partner organisation. All remained in the meeting during consideration of the item.

[Wards Affected: All]

[During consideration of this item, it was

244.1 The Council owns four leisure centres, which are operated on behalf of the Council by external management contractors. The Council has also recently agreed to transfer the ownership and management of the JSJ Godalming Leisure Centre to the Council.

244.2. The contracts currently operating have been entered into separately, as and when required by the Council. The following table sets out the start and finish dates for the current contracts and identifies the current contractors.

Table 1

244.3 As well as agreeing to transfer the ownership and management of the current Godalming Leisure Centre from the JSJ Trust to the Council, the Council has agreed to fund a refurbishment of the centre at an estimated cost of £817,000. Funding for this has been identified in the capital programme over the next 2 years. The Council has articulated in its priorities the desire to build a new leisure centre in Godalming.

244.4 In April 2004, the Council approved an extension to the current management contract of Farnham Sports Centre up to April 2007 and agreed to allow officers to explore whether solo negotiations with DC Leisure offered the best solution for Waverley under a longer-term contract post April 2007. It became evident from a survey of the building that the centre is in need of modernisation and a degree of catch–up repairs. In December 2004, Members agreed the inclusion of £1.8m within the draft capital programme to cover the cost of a basic refurbishment to be phased over the following 3 years. In the 2006/7 capital programme £300,000 is identified, with £1.5m identified in 2007/8. Officers are now in the position to give assurances that the funding for the basic refurbishment has been approved and is fully financed, which should enable negotiations with the leisure contractor to be progressed.

244.5 In 2003 the Council adopted the Waverley Cultural Strategy, which identified the aim of seeking to achieve a minimum standard of provision for ‘pay and play’ access to indoor sports in each of the four main centres so that core facilities are available to the community. The provision of facilities to include: 25m swimming pool, teaching pool or area, health and fitness facilities, 4 court sports hall (at least to Sport England minimum standards), high quality ancillary facilities, crèche facilities and soft play facilities.

244.6. Whilst the Council supported a minimum standard of provision in the four main centres as part of the Cultural Strategy recommendations, there is currently no clear vision for how the Council will support the delivery of this standard through its leisure centres. Throughout the borough the community is experiencing differing levels of service, partly due to the relative condition of the facilities, as well as the actual facilities provided.

244.7 Like many local authorities there are significant financial implications in maintaining good quality leisure centres which meet the needs of communities. The financial commitment required to maintain existing facilities is considerable in itself before adding to or improving facilities. The Council needs to have a long-term comprehensive strategy for borough-wide leisure provision to ensure that the community’s leisure needs are met into the future and good value is achieved from Waverley’s assets. Without such a strategy the result will be an ad-hoc approach with short-term solutions to leisure procurement issues. The approach to development and procurement to date in Waverley has been on a centre-by-centre basis addressing the needs of the individual locations and not on a borough wide approach.

244.8 The landscape of leisure provision within and surrounding the borough is continually changing with new facilities becoming available. This in turn impacts on any previous supply/demand and needs analysis. The existing research carried out to date is not comprehensive, in some cases outdated and with limited non-user input.

244.9 The Council has pledged as a priority the wish to build a new leisure centre in Godalming. The delivery of this has proved difficult to progress given the issues of trying to identify a suitable location, the need to relocate Guildford Rugby Club and the cost implications overall of delivering this scheme.

244.10 The basic refurbishment of Farnham Sports Centre in the capital programme will only keep facilities at the current standard and provide essential maintenance and replacement. It is evident that attendances are falling as other more attractive and modern facilities are offered in the area. This is impacting on the income streams, which are forecast to continue falling. Increasing utility, insurance and staff costs coupled with rising maintenance bills are likely to result in significantly increased operating costs in any future contracts. Proposals to enhance the centre on a larger scale and the cost implications of this will also be considered as part of any strategy development.

The Need for a Leisure Procurement Strategy

244.11 Like many local authorities the Council has ageing leisure centres. With increasing financial pressures on services across the Council and recent developments in relation to taking over Godalming Leisure Centre and the identified need to undertake a refurbishment at Farnham Sports Centre, senior officers have identified the need to consider how best the Council can address its leisure procurement requirements to attain best value, whilst at the same time meeting the needs of the community.

244.12 The Council needs to be reassured that its proposals for the delivery and implementation of the leisure centre developments are feasible and, more importantly, sustainable in the longer term. Decisions need to be based on sound justifications that have arisen from comprehensive research. There are always a number of options available when considering procurement, therefore detailed options analysis must be presented to ensure value for money is achieved and the best interests of the Council are served.

244.13 Implementation of complex procurement decisions can be difficult if an agreed policy, process and timetable are not endorsed by all key stakeholders. A lack of clarity will hinder progress. A strategy will provide transparency to the process; provide reassurance to external stakeholders leading to less confusion and unrealistic expectations. A strategy will also enable delivery to be monitored and evaluated to ensure objectives are being met. Given that the Council has agreed to take responsibility for Godalming Leisure Centre, and is considering options for refurbishment proposals as part of a new contract at Farnham, coupled with the fact that other contracts are shortly due for renewal, the Council now finds itself in a position where there is the opportunity to consider a more strategic approach to future leisure procurement. This may assist in meeting some of the long-term challenges the Council faces.

244.14 Feedback from other local authorities facing similar issues has shown that where authorities start to approach procurement on a more comprehensive basis, economies of scale and long-term partnerships can be developed helping authorities to tackle the problems of resources and practical implementation.

244.15 Initial investigations have highlighted that there may be an opportunity to improve value for money and ease of operation by streamlining the management function and procurement of the leisure centres by consolidating the existing contracts. By bringing the existing contracts together as one there will be benefits to both the contractor and customers. The contractor would benefit from economies of scale through overhead savings as well as the streamlining of services and these savings should be reflected in a reduced management fee. For the customer there would be greater opportunity for cross utilisation of facilities. The aggregation of smaller contracts into a larger single contract would also be more attractive to the market.

244.16 With reference to Table 1 above, to bring the contracts co-terminous in July 2008, the following actions are required in the short term:

1. Seek an extension of the Farnham Sports Centre contract to July 2008.
2. Seek agreement from DCL Leisure Ltd to waive the 2-year option to extend at the Edge.
3. Put in place a short-term management contract at Godalming Leisure centre up to July 2008.
4. Seek an early termination (ending June 2008) of Cranleigh Leisure centre contract from Serco Leisure Ltd. If an early termination proved to be an expensive option for the Council it may still be possible to tender a consolidated contract with an option to bring in the Cranleigh contract a year later. 244.17 These actions, if concluded, would make all five contracts co-terminous in July 2008 allowing the Council to procure one contract with a single specification, contract and management regime. Officers have, as part of the negotiations with DCL, discussed actions 1 and 2 above and the initial outcomes are set out in an (Exempt) Annexe.

244.18 Longer term, if the Council agrees to consolidate the contracts from July 2008, the procurement of this contract will need to commence this autumn allowing a minimum of 18 months, which will be necessary to undertake the tendering process. This provides a window of opportunity for the Council over the next six months to develop a coherent long-term strategy for what it would like to deliver as part of any new contract post July 2008 and to consider the size, scope and nature of the leisure provision the Council can afford to provide.

244.19 To support the Council in the process of developing a Leisure Centre Procurement Strategy, officers are recommending the use of an external facilitator to assist the process. Capita Symonds Sport and Leisure Consulting were recently commissioned to conduct an options review for the Council on the JSJ Trust. Having carried out this options review Capita have acquired a substantial amount of knowledge and understanding of the Council’s current position in relation to leisure. They also have a strong track record of working with other local authorities on the development of leisure strategies. Given this background, officers requested Capita to provide more detail around how they might support the Council moving forward with a strategic review of leisure centre procurement. The detailed proposal from Capita is attached in Annexe 1. Resource plans are attached to the Exempt Annexe. In summary, the process they outlined will involve the following stages:

Develop a vision for leisure in WaverleySupport the Council to develop a clear vision for Leisure centre provision in the Borough for the next 15 yearsTours of existing facilities.
Study tour of other facilities provided by local authorities.
Facilitated member workshop
Leisure Needs Analysis – understand supply and demand Conduct focused study into identifying the Boroughs future leisure needs.Desk study
Consultation including focus groups across the borough, public meetings, non-user surveys, citizen’s panel.
Mapping exercise to identify supply and demand taking into account surrounding boroughs.
Options AppraisalSupport the Council in identifying the most appropriate options for procurements and refurbishment of the leisure facilities and their respective costs and benefits Options appraisal and evaluation exercise to be conducted by Capita. June
Formation of a Leisure Strategy for the next 15 yearsProduction of a leisure strategy document which links the Council’s vision for leisure to its corporate objectives, provides the context for the strategy and sets out clear aims, objectives and outcomes to be achieved.Assimilation of research with vision and options appraisal concluding with a workshop to determine recommended option and approachJune – July
Confirmation of StrategyCouncil endorsement of strategyRelevant committee approvals followed by adoption by the CouncilOctober

244.20 Given that Capita has a sound knowledge of the Council’s current position in relation to leisure provision and procurement, a substantial track record in developing leisure strategies with other local authorities, come highly recommended by other local authorities and offer comparative rates which have been benchmarked, Officers are recommending that the Council agrees to commission Capita Consulting to facilitate the development of a long term leisure procurement strategy. If the Council agrees to this commission without seeking alternative quotes, then officers recommend that the normal provision of Contract Procedure Rules A108, CPR G-L, and B be waived, thus allowing a single tender contract to be accepted.

244.21 At the Finance seminar in October 2005, Members were informed of the likely pressures on the leisure centres’ capital and revenue budgets in the next few years. In December 2004, the Council recognised the need to invest capital in a refurbishment of the Farnham Sports Centre and agreed that £1.8m should be included in the capital programme. Members were also updated on the negotiations with DC Leisure and informed of the likely future significant increase in management fee at Farnham (even after the basic refurbishment) and the tightening contract conditions in the leisure market that would transfer certain cost risks to the Council. In November 2005, the Council also agreed to include £817k in the capital programme for the Godalming Leisure Centre. In addition, the Centre’s deteriorating revenue position is reflected as a variation in the 2006/07 draft revenue budget. If the Council agree to manage the situation so that the existing contracts become co-terminous in July 2008 to consolidate the contracts, as recommended by officers, the additional cost to the Council would be as set out in the (Exempt) Annexe. As the position develops, the Medium Term Financial Strategy will be updated to forecast the potential impact over the next few years.

Risk analysis

244.22 If an agreed policy, process and timetable for leisure centre provision and procurement are not agreed by all key stakeholders then the implementation may not achieve the best outcome for Waverley in the longer term. If procurement decisions are not based on appropriate needs/supply and demand analysis then the Council may fail to meet customers needs. Failing to develop a clear long-term strategy may result in unrealistic, undeliverable or unsustainable proposals. Without undertaking a detailed options appraisal, proposals may fail to deliver value for money for the Council. If the Council chooses not to extend the Farnham Sports Centre contract at the end of March 2007, there will be insufficient time to undertake a full tendering exercise including a detailed options appraisal. This may result in not securing the best option for the Council.

244.23 If the process of developing an agreed long-term strategy for leisure procurement is not undertaken with the support of a cross-party SIG and agreed by all parties, then any proposals could be affected by the pending 2007 district elections. If Waverley does not invest capital funds into repairing the Farnham Sports Centre, this may result in significant additional revenue implications in the form of increased management fees (in excess of those increases likely as a result of tightening contract conditions) and reduced income share. By consolidating the contracts into a single larger contract this may deter smaller scale leisure operators from bidding thus limiting the market place.

244.24 At its meeting on 23rd February 2006, the Godalming Leisure Needs SIG considered matters arising from this report. The SIG agreed the following, that:-

· there should be a review of leisure centre provision and the formation of a long term Leisure Centre Procurement Strategy; · all contracts should be made co-terminous in 2008 allowing the Council to consolidate the leisure management contracts into a single contract; · the proposed consultation be undertaken, to be commissioned by Capita Symonds Sport and Leisure Consulting, at the cost of £33,470; and

· the SIG be re -established as a Waverley-wide Leisure SIG with membership drawn from across the whole Borough and that specialist Members are co-opted when required. Members agreed that membership should not be too large. It was agreed that the terms of reference of the wider SIG should include the 'equality of provision in the borough'.

244.25 The Executive


Background Papers (DoEL)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

[Wards Affected: All]

245.1 Currently report items which are to be exempt from disclosure under Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 are agreed by each Committee or the Council, following officer recommendations. The Government has revised Schedule 12A to fall in line with the Freedom of Information exemptions, in particular, by providing for consideration of where the public interest lies in making disclosure or retaining confidentiality.

245.2 Members will be familiar with the reasons that have provided, in Schedule 12A of the 1972 Act, for exemption from access to the information. For example, the Council may decide that the public should not have access to information relating to a particular employee or any particular applicant for Council accommodation. Some of the exemptions protect individual human rights; others, for example, exemption of terms of contracts under negotiation, or legal advice, protect the effectiveness of the Council as a corporate business organisation acting in the public interest.

245.3 Some of the exemptions have permanent effect, others (for example, non-disclosure of intention to serve enforcement notices) may last only so long as they protect the effectiveness of action, and finish when that action has been taken (these are referred to as “qualified exemptions”). The purpose of the Access provisions under the 1972 Act generally is to make it possible for the public to know the underlying information that members consider when making decisions on behalf of the public.

245.4 The Freedom of Information Act exemptions have differed from the Schedule 12A exemptions in that some are absolute, so that information need never be disclosed; whilst others are qualified exemptions, and may be disclosed subject to the “public interest test”. Many of those relevant to the Council carry a “public interest test”, that is, we have to ask the question under the Freedom of Information Act “Is it in the public interest to disclose the information, or is it in the public interest to continue to withhold it?”.

245.5 There will be occasions when items must be “in exempt” for a period of time, (e.g. until a contract is let) but not remain so indefinitely. The period of time could range from 1 day to several years. To meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act in providing information within 20 days of the request, in June 2005 Council agreed a delegation to the Monitoring Officer to allow her to authorise the disclosure of the information, where appropriate, in response to a Freedom of Information request made at a later date. This will be carried out in consultation with the Information Rights Officer and the author of the report. The Monitoring Officer is the “Responsible Officer” for authorising Section 36 Exemptions (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) under the Freedom of Information Act.

245.6 The Variation Order substitutes a new Schedule 12A, replacing some of the descriptions of exempt information with new text, which it is intended will be simpler and clearer. Some of the earlier provisions “qualifying” exemptions, so that they may not be permanent, are replaced by a public interest test.

Changes in 2006: Access for Members

245.7 Amendments are also made to provide additional rights of access to documents for members of the Council. These are rights that are exclusively reserved for members of the Council, and do not have any effect on the rights of the general public to access to documents.

245.8 Under the earlier provisions (although it was not common practice in Waverley) the proper officer was not required to disclose to members specified “exempt” classes of information, (for example, information relating to a particular employee), including members of the relevant Committees, except on a need to know basis. [Members are regarded as having a “need to know” where knowledge of the contents will support them in performing their duties as councillors effectively]. It is now provided that information is required to be open to inspection by members of the Council

· where it relates to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) except to the extent that it relates to proposals in the course of negotiations for a contract,

· where it discloses that the Council is going to give notice imposing requirements on a person (e.g. a noise abatement notice) or to make an order or direction (e.g. an Article 4 Direction restricting permitted development rights).

245.9 The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2006 extend the effect of the Variation Order to Councils with Executive arrangements.

245.10 The Variation Order also revises the categories of papers that may be exempt from disclosure. It will be necessary for officers preparing reports, and for members, to become familiar with the new categories in the revised Schedule 12A.

245.11 Simultaneously with the Variation Order, the Government has issued the Relevant Authorities (Standards Committee) Amendment Regulations 2006 to make changes for access to information received by the Standards Committee to reflect the changes to the Variation Order.

245.12 The Executive, on considering the above information, noted the effects of the Variation Order on access to the papers for members of the Council and for the public and accordingly


Background Papers (CEx)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

Part II – Matters Reported in Detail for the Information of the Council


The Executive considered the various questions raised in the report, particularly in the conclusions, and directed officers that the outline of the policy that the Council should follow in relation to proposals for the future of local government should be as follows:-

i. limited officer time should be devoted to responding to the various Government initiatives, no new resources should be allocated and no consultants commissioned, but preparations be made to enable the Council to appoint consultants at an opportune time;

ii. the Executive does not support any of the broad options outlined in paragraph 11 of the report initially but to keep all options open, including an enhanced status quo, and to direct officer resources and authorise the Leader accordingly;

iii. whichever of the options is adopted, Waverley would want to support strongly the case of Town and Parish Councils to be the appropriate structures for the neighbourhood level envisaged by the Government, rather than the Government devising and imposing any new additional structures;

iv. the officers should involve Town and Parish Councils by frequent briefings and consultative meetings at this stage;

v. the Chief Executive should invite Surrey County Council, as soon as possible, to brief members on the County Council position;

vi. the Executive, in the interim, encourages officers to develop Joint Working Initiatives;

vii. the annexe setting out the response to the Lyons Review be endorsed; and

viii. the SIG be asked to review the proposals on the inclusion of any part of the Borough in the proposed Blackwater Valley City region and to recommend the next meeting of the Executive on this to enable a recommendation to be made to the Council.

[Wards Affected: All]

1. the Council should make representations to central government on giving local planning authorities greater control over the determination of planning applications for telecommunications masts; 2. provided that national policy remains unchanged, there is no need for the Council to review its policy as landowner in respect of the location of masts and antennae; 3. there is no need for the Council to have a specific policy on the use of mobile technology by Members and officers, beyond that which already exists on health and safety issues; 4. no further formal research be undertaken at present on the views of the local community; 5. it is content with the information provided by the mobile operators in their presentation at the special meeting on 28th November, and does not require further clarification of any issues; 6. there should be a pre-planning application discussion to involve possibly ward councillors and local residents, and this system and the roll-out plans for 2007 should be the subject of a Development Control Forum in October/November this year; 7. officers to review data on emissions provided on the Web and report back as necessary; 8. the Council should make representations to both the Local Government Association or central Government that the current approach to the assessment of health considerations needs to be revisited; 9. there is no need for the Council to undertake its own monitoring of radiation emissions from telecommunication masts in Waverley; 10. members have received sufficient information on the design of masts; and

11. officers review studies undertaken by other Councils and report back as necessary.

Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

[Wards Affected: N/A]

249. BUDGET MONITORING – JANUARY 2006 (Appendix B)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

RESOLVED that the current monitoring position on the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account to 31st January 2006 be noted.

[Wards Affected: N/A]

RESOLVED that the progress made on the Improvement Plan during 2005 be noted.

[Ward Affected: Farnham Castle]

RESOLVED that £10,000 of the Community Partnership Fund Grant for a Community Garden be reallocated from the 2004/05 round to fund a multi-use games area for young people at the same location in the Chantrys.

[Wards Affected: N/A]

1. the position on workload and resources on the Gambling Act 2005 be noted and the LGA lobbied accordingly; and

2. the Licensing and Regulatory Committee be informed of the Executive comment that there should be no proposals for a casino in the borough.

253. RESTRUCTURE UPDATE (Agenda Item 13)

It was reported that, following discussions with the Director of Housing on the way forward after the ballot, consideration of the report on this issue was deferred until April.


This item was deferred until a future meeting of the Executive.

255. EAST STREET UPDATE (Agenda Item 15)

Officers reported on the latest position on the East Street Scheme and a schedule of proposed dates for meetings to deal with the next stages was endorsed.

[Wards Affected: All Cranleigh Wards]


1. a target date of 31st March 2008 be set for the closure of Rowland House (including Ivy Hall);

2. the Housing Department actively look for suitable alternative accommodation for the residents of Rowland House and Ivy Hall;

3. the needs of the residential staff based at Rowland House (and Ivy Hall) be taken into account;

4. Age Concern Cranleigh and District be formally advised of the Council's decision and discussions be held about their future interest in the site; and

5. officers explore the potential for the redevelopment of the Rowland House site to meet local housing need and report back to the Executive in due course.

[Wards Affected: All Cranleigh Wards]


1. the request by Age Concern Waverley to use the flat at 2 Ivy Hall, Parsonage Road, Cranleigh as office premises for a period to 31st March 2008 be supported; and

2. the Director of Housing be authorised to make a planning application for temporary change of use from a dwelling to office premises until 31st March 2008.


The Executive was informed that the Housing Special Interest Group with met on 1st March 2006 was continuing to examine various options and had requested that officers work up detailed proposals for further consideration at future meetings.

[Wards Affected: N/A]
RESOLVED that the Monitoring Officer be authorised to engage the Audit Commission to undertake the analysis of the survey of members and officers, previously agreed by the Executive, at an additional cost of £3,000, to be met from existing budgets.

[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that the broad response to the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) Consultation document be noted, the five key points set out at paragraph 6 of the report be emphasised, the Council's opposition to a centralised position be stated and the Government be advised that any new basic system of registration should be settled before consulting on detailed specification points with Councils.


The Executive noted the action taken by the Chief Executive since the last meeting of the Executive relating to an extension to the Car Parking Services Contract.
The meeting commenced at 7.00 p.m. and concluded at 9.09 p.m.